Battle to Beat the Basement: Colorado visits Oregon State
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) Colorado and Oregon State play on Saturday night with each team hoping to avoid the Pac-12 basement.
The two are the last remaining teams without a win in league play. The Buffaloes have a streak of 14 straight Pac-12 losses dating back to September 2012 when they edged Washington State 35-34.
Both sides are looking at this meeting as a ''winnable'' game. Oregon State is slightly favored at Reser Stadium, but not by much.
''I guess if you look at it the way you're saying, to look at it and everyone is saying, `You should win this game, this is a great chance for you, if you don't win this game uh-oh.' Which really is just talk, that's all that is,'' Colorado coach Mike Macintyre said this week, responding to a reporter's question about the dynamic with both teams in similar situations.
Colorado (3-4, 0-3) fell 38-31 at Arizona last weekend. It was the team's third straight loss and was the first of three consecutive games on the road.
The Beavers (2-4, 0-3) were coming off a 52-31 loss last weekend at Washington State, the team's third straight.
Oregon State was expected to struggle this season as new coach Gary Andersen installs his new system. The Beavers were picked in the league's preseason media poll to finish last in the Pac-12 North, while Colorado was picked to finish at the bottom of the South.
Andersen said his team keeps learning.
''They're not real happy about the loss, so we'll continue to fight,'' he said. ''We have to have that edge in this league. You have to be able to bounce back and fight. You can't accept a defeat. You have to move on. That is part of this league, and it's always gonna be part of this league.''
SCRAMBLING SETH: Oregon State quarterback Seth Collins rushed for 124 yards against the Cougars, his third game with more than 100 yards rushing this season. He's averaging 81 yards a game, which ranks him eighth overall for rushing in the Pac-12.
And he's on pace to rush for 972 yards this season, just shy of the Pac-12 record of 986 set by Jake Locker of Washington in 2007.
DEPTH CHART CHANGE: While true freshman Collins is still the Beavers' undisputed starter, redshirt freshman Nick Mitchell leaped into the backup spot ahead of Marcus McMaryion this week.
Like Collins, Mitchell is a dual-threat quarterback. But the Beavers - who ranked 119th nationally in passing offense with 145.5 yards a game - need a boost in the passing game. So Mitchell could see his first college snaps on Saturday.
''Seth's gonna start the game,'' Andersen said, ''and we'll see how it goes as we move forward throughout the game.''
SPRUCE-ING UP: Colorado senior receiver Nelson Spruce already holds school career records with 250 catches for 2,797 yards. He's also running up the Pac-12 career receptions list, and now ranks fourth all-time after passing Troy Walkers - now his position coach - who had 248 at Stanford in the late 1990s.
The Buffaloes will likely lean on Spruce in the absence of Shay Fields, who leads the team with 504 recieving yards, because of a high-ankle sprain he sustained on a late touchdown against Arizona.
BANGED-UP BUFFS: In addition to Fields, the Buffaloes will be without tailback Michael Adkins (hamstring). But the biggest blow was finding out that linebacker Addison Gillam needs another knee procedure. Gillam tore his meniscus against Massachusetts on Sept. 12.
''He's out for the year, which is very sad,'' MacIntyre said.
On the encouraging side, linebacker Kenneth Olugbode (leg) is expected to return.
SLIPPING BOWL ASPIRATIONS: To become postseason eligible for the first time since 2007, the Buffaloes have to win four of their final six, which includes games at UCLA and Utah.
''I'm very hungry,'' senior defensive back Ken Crawley said. ''What I experienced the last three years wasn't what I expected when I came here. I was a high-profile player coming out of high school and I wanted those bowl games, those gifts and stuff like that, championships and those things. ... As long we're getting better for the future, I'm all for it.''
AP college football website: -www.collegefootball.ap.org
AP Sports Writer Pat Graham in Denver contributed to this report.